Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, helps patients diagnosed with dementia. Dementia is a term for the effects on memory and thinking that are caused by either brain damage or diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease. The symptoms are progressive and the changes happen gradually, but lead to the patient being unable to be independent.
Dementia is most commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease, and the symptoms of memory loss and losing independence can be confusing and upsetting not just for the patient, but for close family, loved ones, and caregivers. If a family member is struggling with dementia you may be wondering if it will affect you in the future. While Alzheimer's is not passed down genetically, a lot of the risk factors for developing dementia can be passed on.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are two types of genes that influence whether a person develops a disease. Risk genes, which determine the likelihood someone will develop a disease, and deterministic genes, which directly cause disease. There are hereditary Alzheimer's genes in both categories, but in the vast majority of cases, Alzheimer's disease is not inherited.
Family history alone cannot determine if a person will develop dementia, but if you have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer's disease it is more likely to affect you as well. Oftentimes certain risk factors like high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes are hereditary. So parents can't pass on the disease directly to their children but can pass on certain genes that increase the risk of developing dementia.
There are more rare types of dementia that can be hereditary. Frontotemporal dementia and young-onset, familial Alzheimer’s disease are much rarer than Alzheimer's disease but are more likely to be passed on.
You are struggling with dementia or concerned about a loved one, the doctors of Winchester Neurological Consultants are here to help. Contact us in Winchester, VA, at (540) 667-1828.
Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, can help if you or a loved one is struggling with dementia.
The term dementia means a decline in cognition or memory. Dementia is not a disease itself, but a word for the effects on memory and thinking that are caused by either brain damage or diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease. These changes are significant enough to impact a patient's daily life and ability to be independent.
Anyone can be forgetful, so how is someone evaluated? There are lots of unofficial tests available online, but doctors use a series of tests to determine if there is a truly impaired memory. If you think you have memory problems, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor.
In the beginning stages of dementia, a close family member or friend usually notices memory loss in the patient first. Often they'll notice the patient repeating the same questions or getting confused by familiar people. There are several progressive stages of dementia. A patient is evaluated using a test called a Functional Assessment Staging Test (FAST). The stages range from memory loss to complete loss of speech. Specific signs of dementia may vary depending on the cause, but there are common symptoms:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty with language and communication
- Impaired judgment,
- Any trouble with spatial abilities (getting lost)
- Personality changes
Symptoms of dementia worsen gradually. The changes may happen quickly or very slowly over time. The progression and outcomes vary, depending on the type of dementia the patient has and which part of the brain is affected. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease.
There are several types of dementia that are all different depending on the cause. Lewy body dementia is caused by a buildup of a certain protein that damages brain cells, and vascular dementia is caused when blood flow to the brain is blocked or reduced. Mixed dementia is a combination of at least two types of dementia. Discovering the exact type of dementia can help pinpoint possible treatments. There is no cure for dementia but in some cases when caught early on, the progression of symptoms can be slowed.
Living with dementia also takes an emotional toll, and can lead to a loss of confidence and self-esteem. The symptoms can be confusing and upsetting not just for the patient, but also for family members and caregivers. Caregivers to patients with dementia often have their own stress and anxiety and need support.
If you are having memory problems or are concerned for a loved one, give Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, a call at (540) 667-1828.
One of the most important things we can do to protect our brain is to eat well! Still, eating for a better brain doesn’t mean that you have to eat bland food or get poor nutrition. On the contrary, making dietary changes to support your brain function can be delectable and responsible. The experts at Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, can help you identify some of the foods that doctors suggest to give your brain a boost:
These small fruits burst with flavonoids. Flavonoids are well known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. Oxidation is a factor in the aging process, and inflammation in the brain correlates with not just pain but conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases.
Green Leafy Veggies
Green leafy veggies shine at providing fiber, helping your blood to clot when you have a wound and offer many micronutrients like vitamin A, iron, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. These properties ensure healthy blood and a well-functioning brain.
Poultry and Fish
Consuming poultry and fish is a delicious way to provide your brain with Omega 3 fatty acids, lean protein, and healthy calories. For a healthier approach, be sure to consume proteins baked or broiled with a bit of olive oil.
A staple in Mediterranean diets, olive oil is known to clear the arteries of hardened cholesterol, which in turn leads to freer blood flow throughout the circulatory system. A circulatory system that is unencumbered means more chances for the brain to get a steady stream of the oxygen, vitamins, and minerals it needs each day.
Beans are a filling, healthful staple that assists in regularity and another form of lean protein for better brain functioning. Talk to your doctor about alternatives if you can not digest beans well.
Eating whole grains is a great way to control sugar spikes, which affect our cognitive functioning. No more brain fog after eating staples like oatmeal, rice, and other grains!
If you need some more ideas on brain-protective foods and how to prepare them, contact Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA. Our well-trained staff can help you craft a balanced, tasty diet that is also neuroprotective. Call us at (540) 667-1828 for a consultation today.
Parkinson's disease affects thousands of Americans every year, and although there is currently no cure for it, there exist a variety of treatments that can help alleviate its debilitating symptoms. Your local experts of Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, can help guide you or your loved one toward the best available course of action.
Disease and Symptoms
Dopamine is an organic chemical that helps transmit signals in the brain between its parts. This transmission is responsible for a myriad of complex reinforcement and reward functions, as well as motor control. Hence some of Parkinson's disease's most notable symptoms, as the disease is characterized by a decrease in dopamine levels. The reason for it is dying off of the cells in the brain that produce it.
The symptoms are gradual but worsen with time. Motor skills are impacted, from walking, and talking, and any and all movement, and are often accompanied by shaking while at rest. These is known as tremors.
But mental and behavioral changes are also common, affecting memory, sleep, and mood.
The early symptoms of the disease may appear years before the more noticeable motor skills problems even arise.
Parkinson's Disease Treatment in Winchester, VA
Important to treating the symptoms of the disease are lifestyle changes that include proper rest, exercise, and a balanced diet. Consult with your doctor to find out what's appropriate for your own specific case, or your loved one's.
Alongside these changes therapy also plays a key role in helping you feel and act like yourself again. These include physical and perhaps speech therapy.
A variety of medication treatments are available and understanding which ones will better suit your needs will be up to your doctor. Although most often the drugs prescribed will work to help stabilize your dopamine levels as well as manage your symptoms.
A well known surgical treatment employed in battling tremors is called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Through the use of implanted electrodes, your surgeon is able to send out pulses which can help reduce these symptoms.
Schedule an appointment today to find out much more, and how your Winchester, VA, professionals can help you. Call Winchester Neurological Consultants by dialing (540) 667-1828.
Struggling with school or the inability to understand what your loved one is saying can be difficult. Knowing your unique strengths is key to developing great relationships and becoming more productive overall. The team at Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, offers neurocognitive testing and therapy to help you develop your brain skills.
Understanding Neurocognitive Testing
Neurocognitive testing is a non-invasive approach that seeks to find any gaps in mental acuity, alertness, concentration, response, and other metrics.
This kind of testing tests how well your brain is working and to figure out which areas may need support and strengthening.
Some of the reasons why you may need neurocognitive testing are:
- Brain fog -- the ability to focus on a specific topic or task for a long time.
- Memory retention -- although some memory loss is associated with aging, rapid long term memory loss or the ability to recall things from your short term memory may be a cause for concern.
- Mood swings and erratic behavioral responses -- trauma to the brain, changes in biochemistry, and other factors measured with various testing instruments.
- Sudden changes in normal functioning -- maybe counting has become more difficult or reading for comprehension is now more challenging.
- Assess mental development and learning ability
Benefits of Neurocognitive Testing
Medical professionals have been practicing neurocognitive testing long enough to establish a history of accuracy. This accuracy means there is less need for the patient to be exposed to radiation via brain scans and invasive surgery to observe a patient’s brain functioning. It is also often less time consuming, as well.
Examples of Neurocognitive Tests
- Stroop Test
- AB Test
- Flanker Test
Interested in finding out more on how to develop your brain ability? Contact Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, at (540) 667-1828 to schedule an appointment and get more information on neurocognitive testing.
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